Eating red and processed meat increases a person's risk of an earlier death (stock)

If you exchange only one portion of red meat per day, such as a steak for a fish fillet, you reduce your risk of an early death by 17%.

  • Exchanging meat for nuts reduces a person's risk of death in the next eight years by 19%
  • Choosing fish over red meat reduces the risk by 17% and whole grains by 12%
  • Switching to vegetables cuts the risk by 10%, eggs by 8% and legumes by 6%

Cutting down on meat and replacing fish or chicken can add years to your life, a major study suggests.

If you trade only one portion of red meat a day – such as a 3 oz steak or a portion of spaghetti bolognese – a fish fillet reduces the risk of dying by 17 percent in the next eight years.

By replacing it with chicken or vegetables without a rim, the risk is reduced by 10 percent, eggs by 8 percent and whole grain by 12 percent.

Cutting up processed meat has even more advantages, according to the Harvard University research team.


Replacing two slices of bacon, a single sausage or a daily ham sandwich with fish reduces mortality by 25 percent, with chicken by 17 percent and vegetables by 18 percent.

Eating red and processed meat increases a person's risk of an earlier death (stock)

Eating red and processed meat increases a person's risk of an earlier death (stock)

The study, published last night in the British Medical Journal, investigated the dietary habits of more than 81,000 people in the US.

Changes in participants' eating habits were tracked for eight years and then followed for another eight years to see how this affected their health.

The results showed that people who increased their red and processed meat intake by at least half a serving per day for eight years had a 10 percent higher risk of dying in the subsequent eight-year period.

But those who dropped their meat intake – and instead increased their consumption of lean proteins such as chicken, fish or eggs – saw their risk of death decrease.


Previous studies have shown that red and processed meat is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer.


Red meat – such as beef, lamb and pork – and processed meat – such as bacon, sausages and meat products – have been associated with health complications.

The NHS therefore recommends that adults reduce their intake to 70 g per day and not more than 90 g.

The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends not consuming more than three servings of red meat per week.

It also encourages us to avoid & # 39; meat & # 39 ;.


Processed meat often contains nitrogen-based preservatives that ensure that the meat is not removed during transport or storage.

These preservatives are linked to colon and stomach cancer.

When red meat is digested, the pigment in our gut is broken down into chemicals called N-nitroso compounds.

These compounds appear to damage the DNA of cells that line our digestive tract, which could cause cancer.

Our body can also respond to this damage by allowing cells to divide faster and replace cells that have been lost.


This & # 39; extra & # 39; Cell division can increase the risk of cancer.

Red and processed meat has also been associated with type 2 diabetes.

This may be due to the preservatives used or the higher saturated fat content than to chicken and fish.

The researchers wrote: Een A decrease in the total consumption of red meat and a simultaneous increase in the consumption of nuts, fish, skinless poultry, dairy products, eggs, whole grains or vegetables for eight years was associated with a lower risk on death in the next eight years.

& # 39; These findings suggest that a change in protein source or eating healthy plant-based foods such as vegetables or whole grains can improve lifespan. & # 39;


Study leader prof.dr. Frank Hu said the study suggested that a & # 39; Mediterranean diet & # 39; focusing on fish, beans and vegetables is probably the best way to extend life.

& # 39; This long-term study provides further evidence that reducing red meat intake while eating other high-protein foods or more whole grains and vegetables can reduce the risk of premature death, & # 39; he said.

& # 39; To improve both human health and environmental sustainability, it is important to adopt a Mediterranean or other diet that emphasizes healthy plant-based foods. & # 39;

Dr. Giota Mitrou, research director at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: & # 39; This new study reinforces our own evidence that eating red meat or processed meat increases the risk of cancer.

Weten We know that the choices people make are a result of the environment in which they live, so we call on the government to take a courageous step and introduce policies, such as subsidies for healthier food such as fruits and vegetables, that people enable our healthier environments to make these healthier swaps healthier.

& # 39; We recommend that people eat no more than three servings of red meat per week, as this provides a balance between the benefits of red meat as a source of essential nutrients and the disadvantages.

& # 39; However, we recommend that people eat little or no processed meat, such as bacon. & # 39;

But Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said: & # 39; Meat consumption has fallen in the UK in recent years and is well below recommended guidelines.

& # 39; Meat has been providing essential nutrients – proteins, iron and zinc and vitamins – for millions of years and people must think carefully before turning away from a product that has not only served humans well, but has also played an important role in development. & # 39;


Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS


Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count

• Basic meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain

• 30 grams of fiber per day: this is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-grain breakfast cereal cookies, 2 thick slices of whole-grain bread and large baked potato with the skin on it

• Some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) opt for options for lower fat and lower sugars


• Eat beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish each week, one of which must be greasy)

• Choose unsaturated oils and lubricating oils and consume in small quantities

• Drink 6-8 cups / glasses of water per day

• Adults must have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide


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